Everton FC team up with UK Safer Internet Centre in a first for British football

Published:  Fri 24 Mar 2017

Premier League giants Everton Football Club have teamed up with the UK’s internet safety charity to launch a unique educational project aimed at teaching young men about the importance of appropriate online behaviour and online safety.

In a first for British football, the ground-breaking safeguarding initiative is being rolled out across Everton’s youth teams and wider footballing community, including staff and participants at the Club’s award winning charity Everton in the Community. The central aim of the project is to tackle online issues of inappropriate sexualised behaviours, as well as educate young men to the dangers of being online, through a series of targeted educational workshops.

Adam Green, Head of Safeguarding Everton Football Club, says: “This is a unique safeguarding initiative and we’re proud to be the first club to partner with the UK Safer Internet Centre. At Everton, we have a history of putting safeguarding first, both for our young players and in the wider Everton community. This project takes that message one step further – we want to help young men develop both online and offline. And, in a complex online world, we want to help keep our young players, staff and community participants safe.”

The educational message is that young men can become part of the solution to inappropriate online behaviours, rather than part of the problem. The workshops are aimed at young men between the ages of 16 to 24 and are being delivered across Everton’s communities, including:

  • Academy teams at Everton.
  • Staff and participants at Everton in the Community.
  • Pupils at the Everton Free School and Sixth Form College.
  • Non-football staff at Everton.

Andy Wood, scheme manager, who helped develop the project, says: “It’s been great bringing together professionals from the highest levels of sport and internet safety. Their commitment to helping young people challenge attitudes to relationships and online safety has been incredible.

“The young players and everybody associated with the club have responded so positively to the workshops and I hope this pilot will provide a model of good practice for other football clubs across the country. In terms of safeguarding and online behaviours, it’s the right thing to do”.

The educational workshops form the first strand of an awareness campaign, run by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), who form one third of the UK Safer Internet Centre*. The campaign entitled: ‘See it, Report it’ will be launched at an Everton fixture on April 15.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, says: “This is an incredibly positive ‘first’ for the footballing community. We want to engage with young men and encourage them to keep safe online, develop healthy, positive relationships and report any illegal images of child sexual abuse they may stumble across on the internet.

“The support Everton has across the globe, has the potential to influence tens of thousands of young men. By running these workshops, our goal is to educate these young players to keep themselves cyber-safe and in turn spread the positive online safeguarding message.”

The scheme is supported by an Advisory Board, chaired John Carr OBE, Secretary of the UK Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety.

John Carr OBE, scheme chair, says: “Because of football’s place in our national life, young footballers not only attract a great deal of attention and scrutiny, they can also act as excellent role models.”

 “We know the internet has led many young men into confusing or ambiguous situations which some have not handled at all well. This brave, pioneering project is all about tackling negative, ill-informed or destructive attitudes that can quickly lead to trouble online. The project helps young men to understand the boundaries to internet behaviour and also, how to keep themselves safe. Our experience tells us that education is the best way forward.”

Details of the project:

Activity 1

  • Workshop 1: Technology and risk –exploring exposure to online risks.
  • Workshop 2: Sexting and Revenge Porn, and No Means No! - exploring issues around sexting, revenge porn and consent.
  • Workshop 3: Pornography – fact or fiction? See it, report it - exploring impact of pornography on sexual behaviour and reporting images of child sexual abuse.

Activity 2

  • Defining each project area e.g. what is ‘Revenge Porn’, what is ‘sexting’, what is ‘child sexual abuse material’
  • Clarifying what is legal and what is illegal sexual behaviour.
  • Signposting what you should report and where to report it.
  • Guidance for staying safe online.

 

The Advisory Board

An Advisory Board has been convened to provide strategic direction and leadership to the project. Members include: John Carr (Chair); UK Safer Internet Centre partners (Childnet, IWF, SWGfL); ComRes; NCA/CEOP; Home Office; NSPCC; Brook; Liverpool School Improvement Service; Safeguarding and PR leads at Everton Football Club; Andy Wood (Project Manager).

 

The pilot workshops will be fully evaluated by the national research organisation ComRes.

 

Contacts:

Everton FC Contact: Mo Maghazachi, Senior Press and Public Relations Manager, 0151 530 5238 or 07875 586786. www.evertonfc.com

IWF Contact: Emma Hardy, IWF Director of External Relations +44 (0) 1223 203030 or +44 (0) 7929 553679.

 

ends

 

Notes to editors:

  • UK Safer Internet Centre, is formed from the charities: Childnet International, IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) and SWGfL (South West Grid for Learning).
  • ComRes are a leading market research consultancy based in London. www.comresglobal.com

The UK Safer Internet Centre, includes IWF working with Childnet International and the South West Grid for Learning to promote the safe and responsible use of technology.

What IWF do:

We make the internet a safer place. We help victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse. We search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. We then have them removed. We’re a not for profit organisation and are supported by the global internet industry and the European Commission.

For more information please visit www.iwf.org.uk.

 

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